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Prince Charles unveils monument to WWII female spies

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 04.12.2013 09:19
Prince Charles was joined by the Polish ambassador to the UK on Tuesday at the unveiling of a monument to female agents, including two Poles, who aided resistance movements in occupied Europe.

Prince Charles at the memorial in Tempsford. Photo: Polish Embassy in the United Kingdom

The marble and granite memorial has been erected in the village of Tempsford, Bedfordshire, where most of the 75 female agents set off on their missions from the now defunct RAF airbase.

The monument includes a mosaic of a dove against a full moon - the agents were invariably dropped at night - and eighty villagers, including children, helped insert the 600 pieces.

Prince Charles added the final piece on Tuesday, where he was joined by Polish ambassador to the UK Witold Sobkow, among other dignitaries.

Ambassador Witold Sobkow. Photo: Polish Embassy

The monument was the brainchild of local academic Professor Tazi Husain, who designed the mosaic itself.

Some 21,000 pounds were raised from donors after the parish council backed the initiative.

“The stories of these remarkable women - from all walks of life, of many creeds and origins, serving variously as couriers, wireless operators and saboteurs, some of whom lost their lives - have featured in many writings and films since the war but many have not been honoured and a few still remain nameless,” the Tempsford Memorial Trust reflected in a statement.

Among those inscribed on the memorial is Krystyna Skarbek (aka Christine Granville), a Polish countess dubbed 'Churchill's favourite spy,” who was dropped into occupied France on 7 July 1944.

Also honoured was Elzbieta Zawacka, who after her parachute training in the UK, became the only woman to join the ranks of the crack Polish underground formation 'The Unseen and Silent' (Cichociemni).

All in all, some 13 nationalities are represented. All of the agents underwent training in the UK.

The monument's inscription reads: “To honour and remember the women who went out from RAF Tempsford and other airfields and ports to aid resistance movements in occupied Europe 1941-1945." (nh)

Source: BBC, tempsfordmemorial.co.uk

tags: World War 2
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